West Seattle, Washington
Back in September, we published an invitation for entries in a student essay contest presented by the VFW. Among the local students who responded and participated, there are winners in subsequent rounds of judging, and two going on to state competition! VFW Post 2713 in The Triangle shares the news:
Congratulations to the 22 student winners of the Youth Essay contests from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2713 in West Seattle. The student winners came from Arbor Heights Elementary School, Holy Family School, Madison Middle School, and Our Lady of Guadalupe School. A total of $770 was given to the winners, according to Bill Dwyer, Post 2713 Senior Vice Commander and Chairman of the Youth Essay Scholarship program.
Five of the 22 student winners from VFW Post 2713 also went on to the District 2 competition. On January 6, the District 2 meeting was held at VFW Rainier Post. Here are the results of the competition:
–Liam Stampe won 2nd place for 4th grade from Our Lady of Guadalupe School.
–Malik Dawson won 1st place for 5th grade from Holy Family School. Malik now competes at State Level.
–Danika Ronda won 1st place for 6th grade from Madison Middle School. Danika now competes at State level.
–Roxanne Elder won 3rd place for 7th grade from Madison Middle School.
–Miles Dawson won 3rd place for 8th grade from Holy Family School.
Congratulations to the District 2 winners (there are 15 Districts in the state). The State winners will be awarded January 20.
As previewed in our West Seattle Monday highlights list: You’re invited to stop by Tap Station (southeast corner of 35th/Kenyon) before 8 pm for an open house/celebration of new beginnings for the founders and new owners of Swedish Automotive across the street and West Seattle Autoworks a few blocks north on 35th (both WSB sponsors). As we reported the week after Christmas, Swedish Automotive founders Dave Winters and Sandra Wanstall are retiring:
They have sold their business to Todd Ainsworth and Chris Christensen, who founded WS Autoworks in 2010 in the space Swedish vacated to move to its then-new, bigger, greener location (right across 35th from the site of tonight’s celebration). Chris will continue to co-own WS Autoworks, but now with its lead tech Nathen Huie, who has long worked with Chris and Todd. Everyone’s welcome to stop by and join tonight’s open-house-style celebration.
“Jeff Ament is known for being the bassist for Pearl Jam, but his story goes much deeper than that. He doesn’t do many interviews, and none go this deep.” That’s how podcaster Mike Powell introduces his brand-new audio interview with fellow West Seattleite Ament. As noted when we featured Powell’s podcast with another well-known West Seattleite last Labor Day, he usually focuses on action sports, but on occasion there’s synergy with people best known as leaders in other industries, and so it went in this case – though their conversation turned to skiing and snowboarding among other things. You can listen via the embedded player above, or by going to this page on Powell’s website.
From the WSB inbox, another case of someone seeking the person who helped them after a crash during our snowy Christmas. From Mercedes:
On December 25th, we were in an accident. It was around 10:00 pm and we were crossing the intersection between SW Morgan St and 41st. I would like to find the Good Samaritan that helped us. I remember a young man going to my side and checking on us. Please, if anyone saw or knows this angel, let me know, I would like to thank him personally. If anyone else who was there reads this, please feel free to contact me so we can thank you.
If you’re the person Mercedes is looking for – or if you know him – please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can connect you.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
In the Admiral Theater‘s long and storied history, the curtain is about to fall on another episode.
This one has spanned almost a decade, including the latest incidence of West Seattle’s moviehouse being brought back from the brink. You might subtitle it “Return of the First-Runs,” though that’s just part of the story.
What’s happening is that next week will bring the departure of The Admiral’s longtime manager Dinah Brein. She says simply, “It’s time.” Her brother, Jeff Brein, is co-proprietor of Far Away Entertainment, an independent regional chain of community movie theaters including The Admiral, and Dinah’s been working for him since 2004, four years before she came to The Admiral, originally doing public-relations work for his PR firm on Bainbridge Island.
After Dinah and her husband Larry McClellan bought a house in West Seattle in 2006, that started to become a somewhat onerous commute. When her brother took over The Admiral, an opportunity arose for her to work much closer to home.
But at first, she wasn’t running the theater.
Hannah hopes someone does, so she can thank him for helping them Christmas Eve in Westwood:
We were involved in a car accident and this kind man gave us hand warmers and a warm blanket for our baby. We would love to send this man dinner to thank him for what he did for our family.
We were coming down SW Barton St and about 23rd and there were two cars in the middle of the road. In order to avoid hitting them, and we were sliding down the street we hit a pole. Baby was in the car and we are all okay. But I am hoping to thank the kind neighbor who gave us hand warmers and gave our baby a big red blanket to keep him warm. Everything was so crazy so we didn’t get a chance to thank him and I would love to bring him dinner or something. I know I probably won’t find him but it’s worth a shot.
He was wearing a light-up Seahawks Santa hat, a Seahawks jersey and had a beard. I’m assuming he lives near Barton and 23rd. if anyone hears about someone helping a family in a crash, please let me know!
By Linda Ball
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Near the southern border of Nicaragua lies Lake Nicaragua, the largest freshwater lake in Central America. Its size is formidable – the largest lake in Central America and 19th in the world. Within the lake is Ometepe [map], a peanut-shaped island that is home to around 40,000 people and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
“It’s one of those untouched places,” said Kate Zylland. “Why do we have to pick apart everything?”
She and her husband, Jeff Zylland, veteran guides, founded a nonprofit on Ometepe, Guias Unidos. She is 4,200 miles northwest right now, in West Seattle, taking care of her ailing mom. He is on Ometepe, working to ink a rental deal on a building to serve as Guias Unidos’ headquarters and resource center.
Both have other relatives in the West Seattle/White Center area. But Ometepe holds their hearts. The Zyllands first visited in 2011. They fell in love with the island because it is a place that hasn’t been destroyed. Kate said there are petroglyphs on the slopes of Maderas volcano. Not much is known about them, but the island may have been inhabited as early as 2000 BC.
The couple has led an unconventional life. Read More
The photo and report are from Sheryl Guyon:
Husky Deli has been a pillar of the community for generations. So, it’s not surprising that they attract quality employees.
What is a coincidence is that four of the young men serving ice cream have all been awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award for exceptional service to their community.
It is a nationally recognized honor which was started by President Obama. It recognizes citizens who give back to their community in a significant way, each dedicating their time for the betterment of others.
Each student logged 150 hours or more of service in the past year, including time spent serving the homeless, participating in All City Band, helping freshmen at West Seattle High School through Link Crew, volunteering to help at sporting events, promoting the Crop Walk for Hunger, and helping younger students succeed.
The holiday season is a time to give … and a time to reach out.
It is also a time to try to cope with the loss of those who are no longer with us.
Three years ago, Jenny Taylor lost her 26-year-old son Jay Taylor in a car crash.
His loss was also a loss to the community. Jay was a star baseball player at West Seattle High School, helping the Wildcats win the league championship. (That’s Jay in the photo at right, with recently retired WSHS baseball coach Velko Vitalich.)
He also played college baseball at multiple schools, and his potential had been recognized by pro-baseball teams. Before all that, Jay mentored many younger players.
His promising future was taken away in August of 2014, on the night before he was to return to Kansas for his final year of playing college baseball. He crashed near Lincoln Park in a summer downpour. Jenny explains that he suffered a brain injury that took his life 9 days later.
“The loss of our son is something we will never get over in my lifetime. I wake up every morning trying to remember how his hug warmed my heart and how proud I was of him and maybe someday I will be able to feel love in my heart again. It’s just horrible to lose a child of any age.”
Before WSHS, Jay went to Schmitz Park Elementary and Madison Middle School. His love for baseball started with T-ball at age 5. Along with playing in youth leagues, Jenny says, her son “played all year around on select teams that traveled around … during the summer also.”
His achievements are detailed in part in his obituary. During his senior year, in June 2006, the Colorado Rockies drafted him, and interest was shown by other teams including the Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres, Jenny recalls. “He didn’t sign and accepted a full ride to Lewis-Clark in Idaho that year.” His college career took him to several other schools, finally Sterling College in Kansas, “where he met his girlfriend, the captain of the softball team, and gave her a promise ring in May.” She too was from western Washington (Renton).
Then came the crash. “The night of the accident, he had been at Lincoln Park and left his backpack and went back to get it during a downpour, and was seen by a RapidRide bus driver rounding the corner on an a oily roadway, sliding into a pole and not getting aid soon enough …” Jenny says the bus driver did not call for help, while her son remained at the scene, gravely injured. But separate from that, she is seeking closure in the form of a headstone in tribute to her son. “I feel that all of his friends and teammates need some closure and a place to grieve, to process this horrible accident. I as a mother can only now think of putting his ashes to rest here in West Seattle in the (J) section that is still open after 3 years was just meant to be. My family is starting over and can’t afford the plot and headstone that Jay deserves.”
She is asking for community help via crowdfunding, hoping that those touched by Jay’s life might be able to make the memorial happen.
“My son never gave up on his dream, and deserves a nice headstone … he brought scouts to his school for other players to follow their dreams.” She hopes to be able to fulfill this last one she has for him.
West Seattle is clearly a hotbed of poetry! For the second time in four years, a West Seattleite has been appointed to serve as Washington State Poet Laureate. The just-announced 2018-2020 Poet Laureate is Claudia Castro Luna, who made history previously as Seattle’s first Civic Poet. She succeeds Tod Marshall, whose 2016-2018 appointment followed that of West Seattleite Elizabeth Austen (2014-2016). From the full announcement of Castro Luna’s appointment:
Castro Luna fled war-torn El Salvador for the United States at the age of 14 with her family. She went on to earn an MFA in poetry and an MA in urban planning. After working as a K-12 teacher, she became Seattle’s first Civic Poet, a position appointed by the mayor. In that position, Castro Luna won acclaim for her Seattle Poetic Grid, an online interactive map of showcasing poems about different locations around the city. The grid even landed her an interview on PBS NewsHour. She is also the author of the poetry chapbook This City and the collection Killing Marías.
Her appointment officially begins on February 1st. In February of last year, we covered her speaking in West Seattle at Southwest Youth and Family Services (photo above), telling the story of her “long journey.”
ORIGINAL REPORT, 2 PM: Out of the WSB inbox, the photo and report are from Matt:
This is not breaking news, but it is an example of the kind of little things that make me love this community …
Last night, on my way home from meeting a friend for a drink at Beveridge Place, I saw a couple standing over the prone body of a cat in the middle of 48th Ave SW, at about Raymond. Their car was idling behind them, the headlights illuminating them as they tended to the cat. I can’t be sure if they were the ones who’d hit it, but it didn’t seem like they had; their car was sitting well behind where it was lying. Traffic had slowed in both directions, and as I approached I rolled down my window to offer help — what I could have done, who knows — but they seemed to be doing their best. He was holding a collar in his hand and dialing his phone while she knelt over the cat, tenderly stroking its white and brown fur. It was clear that they were genuinely concerned and trying to find the owners. I doubt that they’re looking for any acknowledgment, but it’s another reminder of what great people live in WS.
Today I drove by the same spot and saw this hastily made memorial. The inscription inside the card, written in a shaky hand, read, “I was on my way to work. Please forgive me.” It would have been really easy to assume that the driver hit the cat, took off, and didn’t think twice about it. Clearly they wasn’t the case, and that gave me a little hope.
4:10 PM: We’ve heard from the cat’s person in this comment.
Looking for inspiration? You’ve heard of TED Talks … here in West Seattle, progressive Jewish community Kol HaNeshamah is presenting a series of FRED Talks (Fresh, Relevant, Educational, Dynamic). This Saturday (November 18th), you are invited to hear “Stories From Remarkable Volunteers in Our Midst,” 12:30 pm-2 pm. Featured speakers:
*Craig Greenberg is an airplane pilot with Angel Flight, a group of volunteers who fly their own planes and pay for flight costs to help families make critical journeys. Craig will share some of these heroic stories.
*Everyone knows breastmilk is the most superior food for babies, but breastfeeding doesn’t necessarily come easy to everyone. Betsy Hoffmeister has spent more than 15 years as a volunteer leader and an on-call specialist for La Leche League, an international organization with the sole purpose of helping families and their babies.
*Henry, a clever canine and certified therapy dog lives with Lou and Janet Manuta and volunteers by bringing joy to people of all ages. He visits schoolkids, seniors, and so many others, sharing his tricks. Henry has agreed to do some tricks while Lou talks about how Henry got so good at what he does.
Refreshments will be served in the lobby prior to the FRED talks.
Suggested admission is $18, or $12 for seniors/students. Kol HaNeshamah requests that you RSVP online, by going here.
“Thank you” was said in many ways tonight as American Legion Post 160 in The Triangle hosted its annual free drop-in dinner for veterans and others connected to the armed services, along with their families. In the photo above are Cameron Foisy, Malia Geraghty, and Ana Geraghty, students at Holy Rosary School, where thank-you cards were made, along with Gatewood Elementary.
Once the first wave of guests – who ranged in age from babies to seniors – got their spaghetti and garlic bread, Post 160 Commander Keith Hughes offered a few words. He began with gratitude that Veterans Day is a holiday about celebrating those who are still with us, and gratitude for their service:
He also paid tribute to the service that so many continue to provide, even after they leave the military – a tribute that rang true, at the dinner cooked and served by volunteers, most of whom had also spent part of the day placing and removing flags in the West Seattle Junction.
Dinner guests also heard from Chelsea Clayton, a West Seattleite who works for U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, who read a letter from the senator, who began it by describing herself as the daughter of a World War II veteran:
In the letter, Sen. Murray promised she would “never stop fighting for those who fought so bravely for us.”
Throughout dinner, special music this year – patriotic songs performed by Sandra Walker:
Hughes explained she was a late addition to the program – he spoke at another local Veterans Day event earlier in the day, heard her play, and invited her to be part of the Post 160 dinner. She accompanied Hughes as he sang “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” with guests invited to join in singing its chorus, before dinner resumed.
P.S. Post 160 – at 3618 SW Alaska – is also home to help for veterans year-round.
Earlier this week, we published Tim McConnell‘s invitation for any interested local U.S. Marine Corps veterans to join him in informally celebrating the USMC’s 242nd birthday last night. He promised to let us know how it turned out – and so today we received the photo and report:
Last night we had 5 Marines and one Marine family member whose mother was a Marine recruiter in WWII, get together to celebrate the 242nd Marine Corps birthday.
Only 2 of us knew each other beforehand, but by night’s end we all decided to make this an annual event!
Thanks to Poggie Tavern for letting us get together, swap stories, meet up with old friends (last saw each other April of 1990!), and make a few new ones.
Just happened onto a group from the Disabled American Veterans‘ local Chapter 23 (headquartered at 4857 Delridge Way SW) with blue forget-me-nots at West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor). They’re only there until 1 pm today but will be at the Chelan Café 8 am-1 pm tomorrow.
If you missed his announcement in the WSB Forums – you won’t see Hank the Dancing Guy in the West Seattle Junction today. After what he counts as 31 Fridays, dancing at California/Alaska, he’s switching to Saturdays. The video above is from August, when we featured his story here after numerous reader questions.
P.S. We asked Hank a followup about why the change; he explains he’s not off on Fridays any more.
The night before Veterans Day, it’s the 242nd birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps – founded by an Act of Congress on November 10, 1775 – and Marine veteran Tim McConnell is organizing an informal celebration:
I am seeing if there are any other Marines in the area that want to get together this Friday for an informal celebration of the Marine Corps birthday. The usual Marine Corps birthday is a very formal ball, and is full of pomp and circumstance and formalities that I don’t have the time or energy to be a part of. I just want to put together a gathering of West Seattle Marines to toast the Corps, read the Commandant’s birthday message, and swap stories.
As you’ll see here, it’s 8-10 pm Friday (November 10th) at Poggie Tavern (4717 California SW) in The Junction. Just show up.
It was suggested to me that I email you regarding a moment that happened tonight as we were trick or treating.
My son was going up to a house and these two young Muslim girls, maybe 14-16, went up at the same time.
They were so excited, but as they got up there the man at the door yelled at and shamed them for being too old and not wearing costumes.
It broke my heart, they left nearly running away, upset. I don’t understand the hostility, because I grew up doing this until about 17. Also, these kids are not allowed to dress up, from what I was told. I feel like it was completely uncalled for, and hateful.
I want to try to reach out to the community and see if we can somehow get these girls candy. I feel like a lot of the Somali Muslim population in High Point may be new to this country and maybe these girls hadn’t gotten to experience Halloween before, and this man totally ruined their experience.
People need to meet others with love and empathy, and it has bothered me all night that this took place.
Last Saturday night, we mentioned the Southwest Youth and Family Services Night of Giving Gala – including an award for West Seattle mega-volunteers Jim Guenther and Sandy Adams. We noted that we hoped to hear more about it, and now we have the full story on their award and other highlights of the big event, courtesy of SWYFS development coordinator Adriana Zazula:
It was a downpour over the Georgetown Ballroom last Saturday night, but that did not stop more than 200 people from attending Southwest Youth & Family Services (SWYFS) Night of Giving Gala. Amongst the guests were elected officials City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, County Council Chair Joe McDermott, State Rep. Eileen Cody, and State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon. Each came to the event with the assurance of hearing “Voices of Our Community.” And that they did. From one-on-one conversations with SWYFS staff about program needs to poetry readings and music performed by current participants.
Perhaps the most passionate voice came from SWYFS Executive Director Steve Daschle on how the current political climate is affecting our families and an equally powerful testimony as to the impact of SWYFS programs from former participant, Yohan Lara Aguilar.
Another spotlight was also put on fellow West Seattle residents Jim Guenther and Sandy Adams, presented by board chair Laura Ware. Since 2009, Southwest Youth & Family Services recognizes outstanding volunteers who have made a significant contribution to our work with the Weeks Family Volunteer Award. In honor of Ben and Roberta Weeks and their children, SWYFS selects a volunteer for their abiding commitment to improve the West Seattle community and exemplify our mission of partnering with families to transform their futures.
Jim and Sandy have done so much for the West Seattle community at large over the years. Fellow community members wanted to contribute the testaments to their legacy, one of which was Managing Director of ArtsWest, Laura Lee. Lee said, “Sandy and Jim are two of the most genuine, giving, caring people that I have had the privilege of knowing. I think of them both with hands outstretched, love in their hearts, and an energy and spirit that never flags or dims. Sandy has been a crucial volunteer, taking on some of the most un-glamorous and difficult work for ArtsWest. She has a lightness in her step only matched by the lightness in her heart. Jim is smart. One of those people that you really should pay attention to every word he says because it comes from a place of such intellect and experience. He gives generously and freely and is passionate about connecting people to important work. They are both not in anything for the short-term glory or the gain, they are committed to a life of giving and a spirit of generosity.”
Jim and Sandy have taken a great interest in all aspects of the work of Southwest Youth & Family Services, including our education center, our academic and enrichment programs at New Futures. Jim has consistently taken the time to get to know our families and youth and understand the hardships that they face. Together, Jim and Sandy have donated funds for vans, technology, post-secondary scholarships, and more for our students. Their contributions allow for another chance for our youth to access what is necessary for them to transform their futures.
Southwest Youth & Family Services would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to event sponsors International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Nucor Steel, Amerigroup Washington, Tom & Linda Daschle, Potter Construction, Molina Healthcare, King County Housing Authority, and Alaska Airlines, as well as all the guests and volunteers who participated and supported the 2017 Night of Giving Gala.
Thanks to Gary Potter of Potter Construction (WSB sponsor) for the photo – that’s him at right/center with Brian Waid, Rotary Club of West Seattle president (Gary is a Rotarian too), at tonight’s Southwest Youth and Family Services “Voices of the Community” gala at Georgetown Ballroom. 200 people there, Gary reports! Among them, West Seattle community stalwarts Jim Guenther and Sandy Adams, who, we’re told, were honored with an award for their volunteer work – congratulations! (We hope to have more on that later.) Not familiar with SWYFS? It’s based in North Delridge but helps youth and families via many programs in an increasingly large area stretching into South King County
Two and a half months after West Seattle Helpline announced its search for new leadership, the search is over. Here’s the announcement:
West Seattle Helpline, a nonprofit social-service agency offering emergency assistance for our West Seattle and White Center neighbors, is pleased to welcome Erin Dury Moore as the new Executive Director. Erin comes to the Helpline with 10 years’ nonprofit experience in fundraising, strategic planning, community development, management, and working with underserved individuals and families from diverse backgrounds.
Most recently, she was the founder of Heartwood Solutions, a Seattle-based nonprofit consulting firm, and prior to moving to Seattle, served as Executive Director for Oregon’s Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) programs. Erin earned her Masters of Nonprofit Management at the University of Oregon in 2013, where she also completed her BA in Women and Gender Studies.
“The Board, staff, and I are so looking forward to Erin joining our organization! She brings great attitude and energy, experience and passion for our mission to the team. We believe she is going to have a great impact on West Seattle families in need,” said Nick Naubert, President of West Seattle Helpline’s Board of Directors.
Come meet Erin in person at West Seattle Helpline’s annual Neighbors Helping Neighbors dinner and live auction on November 3rd, from 6-9 pm at The Hall at Fauntleroy.
You can get your ticket(s) by going here.
On a Friday afternoon two months ago, a young man’s life ended in a car parked on Beach Drive SW alongside Emma Schmitz Overlook. We reported briefly on his death, determined to have been by suicide; those who knew and loved him have maintained a memorial in his honor nearby. And today a friend e-mailed, with his family’s permission, to invite you to support a campaign for a permanent memorial in honor of 20-year-old Miguel Sanchez Sampablo – a bench in a West Seattle park. Ava Olsen says, “As you likely know, the entire community was shaken by the devastating loss of Miguel Sanchez, who was one of our best friends and sweetest souls I have ever met.” Many knew him from his years at Chief Sealth International High School and Denny International Middle School, and from his job at Marination Ma Kai, where a benefit was held for his family. Ava says they have already obtained permission from Seattle Parks for the proposed bench. The crowdfunding page that’s been set up is here.
Remember that anyone with thoughts of self-harm can reach the Crisis Clinic 24/7, 206-461-3222.